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Natural History & Taxidermy: Results

21st April 2022.

A rare Victorian Cased Diorama of Birds of Paradise native to New Guinea sold for £18,000 plus buyer’s premium in Tennants Auctioneers’ Natural History and Taxidermy Sale on 20th April. The case is thought to have been made by famed taxidermist Rowland Ward of London. Tennants’ specialist Robbie Bright commented: ‘This diorama was sold by a private vendor, and examples of cases filled with such rare specimens are seldom seen outside of museum collections. The rarity factor certainly helped secure such a fantastic result for the vendor’.

Also causing excitement in the saleroom was the appearance of a Cased Re-creation of a Dodo by world renowned taxidermist Carl Church of Pickering, North Yorkshire. Of exceptional quality, mounted in a naturalistic setting, and one of only five made by Church, the dodo sold for £17,000.

The sale also saw the dispersal of the Natural History and Taxidermy Collection from Kilberry Castle, Argyll. The baronial tower house on the West Coast of Scotland was home to a branch of Clan Campbell for over 450 years. Many of the trophies from the family collection dated from the second half of the 19th century and included rare and historical specimens. The total hammer price for the collection of £29,750 was aided by outstanding results for the likes of the Assam Water Buffalo horns and skull which sold for £5,800. The adult specimen was taken in Assam, Northern India circa 1852, and the impressive set of horns had a span of 166cm.

Also of note in the sale was a Cased Northern Fur Seal Pup by James Hutchings of Aberystwyth (1860-1942). The rarity of the specimen by a taxidermist who usually produced English fauna such as foxes and badgers, helped secure a top price of £2,000. Period British butterfly collections sold well throughout, with an early to mid-20th century example containing six hundred and forty specimens selling for £1,300. Further highlights included a two pairs of framed Lyre Bird Tail Feathers that sold well above estimate at £950, and a Giant South American River Turtle Blonde Shell sold for £1,800.

The sale saw a total hammer price of £162,700 for the 361 lots and achieved a 91% sold rate.


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